Fishermen Talk About Block Island Wind Farm

Published Feb 18, 2018 4:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

The American Wind Energy Association and the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW), based at the University of Delaware, have released a video that features underwater footage of fish feeding at America’s first offshore wind farm and testimonials from local recreational fishermen and charter captains.

The Block Island Wind Farm was completed in late 2016. The 30MW installation is capable of providing power to about 17,000 homes. Block Island residents, including fishermen, have been pleased with the results, say the organizations. “Electricity rates are down, tourism is up and the island has access to high speed internet for the first time because of the project.” 

Each offshore wind turbine supports significant shellfish communities, and a recent study from Europe found that a single turbine can support up to four tons of shellfish, which in turn attract fish to the area.

Stephanie McClellan, Director for SIOW, said: “When it comes to fishing, the science is convincing, but ultimately seeing is believing. That’s why we took an underwater videographer to Block Island to see for ourselves. There’s a frenzy of fish and other marine life making a new home near the Block Island turbine foundations, which act as artificial reefs. U.S. energy consumers and workers aren’t the only ones excited to see offshore wind come to American shores. Marine life is thriving, as studies confirm.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 25 offshore wind projects with a generating capacity of 24 gigawatts are now being planned, mainly off the U.S. Northeast and mid-Atlantic coasts. Offshore wind projects planned or underway include projects at New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, Hawaii and California.